NFL Draft: Boise State WR Shakir goes to Buffalo in 5th round

Former Boise State wide receiver Khalil Shakir is heading to Buffalo — a team many believe is poised to play for a Super Bowl title.

The Bills selected Shakir with the fifth pick in the fifth round (148 overall) of the NFL Draft on Saturday. The Broncos have now had at least one player drafted 13 years on a row, dating back to 2010.

Buffalo traded two picks to the Bears to move up and select Shakir, who was the 21st wide receiver drafted this year.

Shakir said the Bills were one of the first teams he met with in the pre-draft process, and the conversation stuck with him.

“In the back of my head, I couldn’t stop thinking about the talks I had with the Bills,” Shakir said. “I guess it’s a match made in heaven.”

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay was a fan of the pick.

“You’ve seen his ball skills, but what I like about him is his versatility,” McShay said on the ESPN broadcast. “He can play in the slot or outside, and you can use him in backfield. His instincts with ball in his hands are really good.”

McShay was especially impressed with Shakir’s many improbable catches last season, describing one as “trying to catch a golf ball in a dimly lit cave.”

Buffalo — which is led by former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen — finished last season 11-6 after falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

The Bills’ top receiver last season was Stefon Diggs, who finished the year with 103 catches for 1,225 yards and 10 touchdowns. Veteran slot receiver Cole Beasley added 82 catches for 693 yards, but he was lost to free agency.

Shakir was the fourth player Buffalo selected, following Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam (1st round), Georgia running back James Cook (2nd) and Baylor linebacker Terrel Bernard (3rd).

Shakir was Boise State’s leading receiver in two of the past three seasons. Last year, he topped the Broncos with 77 catches for 1,117 yards and seven receiving touchdowns — all of which were career highs. He ranks No. 5 at Boise State with 208 career receptions, No. 4 with 2,878 receiving yards and is tied for No. 9 with 20 receiving TDs.

The 6-foot, 196-pound native of Murrieta, California, was impressive during Senior Bowl practices in February, though he didn’t play in the game for unspecified reasons. Shakir turned more heads in early March when he was clocked at 4.35 seconds during his first attempt at the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. His official time was 4.43 seconds.

“He’s a guy you can get some versatility out of, be it in the slot or out wide,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said earlier this month. “I love the kid, especially when you look at his career and the consistency he maintained, the highlight reel catches, the versatility and the way he tested.”

Shakir was also one of eight former Boise State players who worked out for NFL scouts at pro day, where he posted a 38.5-inch vertical leap — a 4-inch improvement from his best jump at the NFL Combine.

Boise State draft picks since 2010

2010 — DB Kyle Wilson

2011 — WR Titus Young; WR Austin Pettis; DB Brandyn Thompson

2012 — DE Shea McClellin; RB Doug Martin; DE Tyrone Crawford; DB George Iloka; DT Billy Winn; OT Nate Potter

2013 — DB Jamar Taylor

2014 — DE DeMarcus Lawrence; C Matt Paradis; OT Charles Leno

2015 — RB Jay Ajayi

2016 — LB Kamalei Correa; DB Darian Thompson; OT Rees Odhiambo

2017 — RB Jeremy McNichols; LB Tanner Vallejo

2018 — LB Leighton Vander Esch; WR Cedrick Wilson Jr.

2019 — RB Alexander Mattison

2020 — OT Ezra Cleveland; DE Curtis Weaver; WR John Hightower

2021 — TE John Bates; DB Avery Williams

2022 — WR Khalil Shakir

This story was originally published April 30, 2022 12:13 PM.

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Ron Counts is the Boise State football beat writer for the Idaho Statesman. He’s a Virginia native and covered James Madison University and University of Virginia before joining the Statesman in 2019. Follow him on Twitter: @Ron_BroncoBeat

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